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So you want a Doberman? Guide to buying a puppy from a breeder.

Rits

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Written by "CP Dobe" on Facebook:

I'm a newer breeder and just wanted to share some insights that will hopefully be helpful to potential homes.

Responsible breeders don't breed until we have sufficient interest. We know we can feel more confident that the potential home is serious if they took the time to do a bit of research to find their way to us. So interest in a potential litter is most often gauged by how many inquires we have received without advertising. While this seems counter productive, every breeder gets a *LOT* of inquires, but if the inquires come via advertising litter announcements, many inquires end up just being tire kickers that don't pan out if the breeding actually occurs. No breeder wants to breed a litter only to determine that it might be more difficult than we anticipated to home the puppies we are working so hard to raise and carefully socialize.

By the time any reputable breeder posts a litter announcement, chances are they already have at least a few people on their list, or have a well established breeding program and can trust that the name they have built for themselves will bring homes when they do decide to announce a breeding. If you want to be higher on a breeder's list, don't wait for an announcement, reach out to them before they breed. Many breeders may even tell you that they don't have immediate breeding plans, but you will often find that, if you take the time to learn more about their program anyway, they might reach out to you a couple of months later if they change their breeding plans. Or if they definitely won't be breeding any time soon, after chatting with you, they probably have another breeder or two to recommend you reach out to.

So how do you find a good breeder to begin with? Ask someone who has a Dobe you think is amazing - where did they get their dog? If they purchased it from a breeder - how did they find the breeder? What did they like about the breeder? Has the breeder been supportive since they brought the puppy home?

If you don't know anyone with a Doberman, even if you aren't interested in becoming active in a breed club, go to just one meeting. Introduce yourself and say that you are considering getting a puppy in the future and wanted to get to know some people in the breed. You are guaranteed to get a few names, either of breeders there, or of breeders that those people know of and respect, or even got their dogs from. (Of course with COVID, this may look a bit different, but hopefully it still inspires some ideas)

Many of you maybe thinking that it sounds like a lot of work when you just want a dog. Well yes, but there is a difference between a carefully bred and thoughtfully raised puppy and one churned out from a puppy mill. This is especially true in Dobermans - a working breed where there is the potential for a lot of drive that can be a really bad mix with inadequate socialization or poor nerves. And also a breed where there are health issues that can strike down a young dog out of nowhere.

You may also be thinking "What am I supposed to be asking a breeder when I talk to them? I just want a dog." Well, I'm guessing you want more than that if you are looking for a reputable breeder.

Do you want a dog from health tested parents? Ask them what health tests they have done on the breeding pair, and when they were done. And don't think that genetic tests constitute health testing. If that is all the breeder is doing, they aren't responsible breeders. Sure it is one component, but arguably the most important tests you want to see done within a year of breeding are the two heart tests (ideally within 6 months) - 24 hour holter monitoring with normal results as well as echo cardiograms. Other tests to look for are hip x-rays evaluated by OFA or PennHip, as well as bloodwork done to check thyroid and liver health. Also consider asking about other dogs in their pedigree.

Do you want a puppy that has been well socialized? Ask how they socialize their puppies. There are a lot of formal and informal methodologies used for socialization, but it should hopefully include exposure to novelty in puppy sized ways - visits by close friends with trusted kids, visits to the yard, different areas of the house (a garage is a whole different planet to a 5 week old puppy who is raised in the living room), opportunities to explore different surfaces, hear weird sounds, etc. Then ask them to describe the temperaments of the parents. While you may "just want a dog", you likely have a picture in mind of what you expect that dog to be like, or you wouldn't be searching for a Doberman specifically. That dog will hopefully be your loyal companion for years to come - it is worth making sure they are what you are expecting.

If you get evasive answers on anything, listen to your gut - maybe keep them in mind, but do a bit more research into other breeders for comparison.

And be prepared to answer questions about yourself. What kind of dog are you looking for? Be specific. If you don't know how to describe what you want, tell them about the best dog you have ever owned. Share what experience you have with the breed, and what has drawn you to get a Doberman. Breeders are asking questions to get an unstanding about what you are looking for and whether you are prepared to bring a puppy into your home with the intention of caring for it for the next decade or so.

And if you get nothing else out of what I'm saying here - don't start the conversation with "How much?"! I know you are apprehensive about the cost, they are an expensive breed. Costs vary throughout the country and are often driven primarily by local veterinary costs because health testing, artificial inseminations, prenatal check ups, emergency C sections, cropping and docking, puppy check ups, etc add up fast when you are breeding. If the breeder titles and health tests their dogs, provides routine veterinary care and sends puppies home cropped and docked, Just plan on $2,500 being the low end, $3,000-$3,500 being the most common, and higher than that is less common... but still possible if the parents, especially the sire, are highly sought after breeding prospects. (Stud fees on sought after sires can be quite high). Yes those prices painfully high, and prices just a few years ago were often about $500 lower, but a recent poll in a breeder's group led to a long discussion on how people have felt forced to raise prices after taking a loss on multiple litters. Some areas of the country are less expensive, so less is possible, but don't count on it. The appropriate time to ask about cost is when you are wrapping up the conversation and the breeder has let you know they will keep you posted about any upcoming litters. They will also let you know if they charge a different amount for show/pet/sport prospects. Though most have a single price - a puppy costs the same to raise whether it is destined for your couch or the show ring.

Also know that you limit your options when you limit your search radius. Flying is an additional cost and may not work for everyone, but Southwest Airlines has relatively liberal policies when it comes to the size of a puppy you can bring in cabin, and if you are willing to fly somewhere to pick up a puppy, your chance of finding the right puppy are far higher.

Hopefully some of this is insightful and helpful. Especially right now with COVID making things quite complicated, finding a puppy is tough. But hang in there, if you want a Doberman, they are worth the wait. ❤
 

Oh Little Oji

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Good info., thanks!

Boy to someone who would say "I just want a dog," this whole dance must seem like a lot.

Definitely similarities to a job search.

Yeah, if I were a breeder, while I would be more upfront than most regarding pricing, I would definitely be put off by a "How much?" communication. I have actually seen, though, a few breeders (not Doberman) online who look quite reputable – titles and testing and all – who do list their price on the website!
 

Skb

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If you get your dog from a breeder are they always a puppy? Could you get the dog when it is a little older like 4-5 months? Im sorry if this is a stupid question. I have no experience with breeders. All the dogs I have ever owned have always been between 4-6 months. They were also rescued. I have never had a puppy. After reading all the dobie puppy stories on here im a little worried!
 

LifeofRubie

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If you get your dog from a breeder are they always a puppy? Could you get the dog when it is a little older like 4-5 months? Im sorry if this is a stupid question. I have no experience with breeders. All the dogs I have ever owned have always been between 4-6 months. They were also rescued. I have never had a puppy. After reading all the dobie puppy stories on here im a little worried!

Yes! Many breeders will re-home older dogs! My Dobes Littermate went to a show home but her show career didn't really pan out so they found another pet home for her. A reputable breeder will take any of their dogs backs to re-home or find pet homes for retired show dogs, etc. Or they may keep a puppy for a little longer to see if it's a good show prospect. Never hurts to ask.

EDIT: they may also know of other breeders looking to re-home or can direct you do an excellent rescue. Keeping in mind Dobes are not fully matured until 2-3 years old (still puppies ;))

This is great info, above. While we were out walking today, someone approached us and said that they've been recently considering getting a Dobe. I wish I had had more time to chat with her but I did say there were a lot of reputable breeders in the area so wished her luck! Rubie even went up to her for attention. She was sold!
 

Skb

Hot Topics Subscriber
Yes! Many breeders will re-home older dogs! My Dobes Littermate went to a show home but her show career didn't really pan out so they found another pet home for her. A reputable breeder will take any of their dogs backs to re-home or find pet homes for retired show dogs, etc. Or they may keep a puppy for a little longer to see if it's a good show prospect. Never hurts to ask.

EDIT: they may also know of other breeders looking to re-home or can direct you do an excellent rescue. Keeping in mind Dobes are not fully matured until 2-3 years old (still puppies ;))

This is great info, above. While we were out walking today, someone approached us and said that they've been recently considering getting a Dobe. I wish I had had more time to chat with her but I did say there were a lot of reputable breeders in the area so wished her luck! Rubie even went up to her for attention. She was sold!
Thank you so much for the information. Im happy to hear that getting an older pup from the right breeder is an option.
 

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